How long do mulberry trees drop fruit


5 Reasons Mulberry Trees Drop Fruit (& How To Fix It) – Couch to Homestead

We’re looking at getting a mulberry tree, but a common problem I’ve heard is they often drop fruit. I couldn’t find much information on this, so I did some more digging. Here’s what I found.

Mulberry trees drop unripe fruit due to overbearing, improper watering, extreme weather, a lack of pollination, and certain pests and diseases. For best results, grow in USDA zones 5-10, only water when the top 2-4 inches of soil is dry, and apply compost and mulch. Ripe fruit that drops can be caught with a net.

So, while mulberry trees drop their fruit early for several reasons, how can we tell which issue is causing it, and how can we fix it? Let’s take a closer look.

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1.

Overbearing

It’s normal for mulberry trees to drop any excess unripe fruit if the tree is overbearing. Overbearing occurs when the tree senses it doesn’t have enough nutrients, water, or weight-bearing branches to support the fruit.

As with most fruiting trees, it’s common for mulberry trees to lose the majority of their initial flowers and small buds.

The good news is there should still be plenty of fruit for you to enjoy.

Occasionally, mulberries and other fruiting trees have alternate or biennial bearing—fruiting heavily one year and fewer the next year. Because of an unusually heavy fruit load, the tree may need the entire next season to store sufficient nutrients and water again.

You can prevent alternate bearing by properly watering and fertilizing your mulberry tree. To see which fertilizers I use and recommend, check out my recommended fertilizer page.

Keep in mind that it’s normal for younger mulberry trees to drop larger amounts of unripe fruit as they’re focusing on establishing a proper root system and canopy. Once the tree develops a sufficient root system and canopy, its fruiting capacity should be greatly increased.

You can speed up this process by pruning excess and overlapping branches.

Mulberry Trees Dropping Ripe Fruit

If your mulberry is dropping ripe fruit, you probably have a good problem! It likely means that your mulberry has so much ripe fruit that it doesn’t know what to do with it. Here’s what you can do if your mulberry is dropping lots of ripe fruit.

  • Place a fine net under the tree to catch fallen berries
  • Make jams or preserves
  • Feed it to livestock

Now, let’s get back to the reasons why mulberry trees drop unripe fruit.

2. Improper Watering

Mulberry trees that are under or over-watered become stressed and shed their flowers and fruit before losing their leaves.

The tree’s leaves may also turn yellow or brown before dropping.

So, what’s the ideal way to water mulberry trees?

The best way to water mulberry trees is to only water when the first 2-4 inches of soil is dry. You can check this by pushing a finger into the soil. Ideally, the soil moisture should be similar to a wrung-out sponge.

When watering, make sure to soak the soil down to 2 feet, as over 90% of the mulberry’s roots are found at this depth.

By watering this way, you’re preventing both under and over-watering.

For even better results, apply 2 inches of compost and 4-12 inches of mulch.

Compost provides valuable nutrients and increases the soil’s richness. With every 1% increase in the soil’s richness or organic matter, an additional 20,000 gallons of water is held per acre (source).

Mulch simulates the fallen leaves and branches in a forest (which is how mulberry trees evolved) and reduces evaporation, regulates soil temperature, prevents soil erosion, and provides nutrients.

Reapply compost every 1-2 months and mulch every 3-6 months. Keep these materials at least 3 inches from your mulberry tree’s trunk.

However, if your soil has poor drainage, hold off on providing mulch as it can make the issue worse.

Poor Drainage

Here are my quick tips for amending poorly draining soils:

  • Planted mulberry trees: provide 2 inches of compost every 1-2 months
  • Potted mulberry trees: repot with fresh potting soil

Funny enough, compost fixes both poor and fast-draining soils as the organic matter not only breaks up the larger clumps of soil but is great at retaining the proper amount of moisture. Over time, your soil should be nicely amended.

3. Extreme Weather

Source: USDA

When mulberry trees are too hot or cold they’ll begin to lose their flowers, buds, and fruit. Hot weather symptoms are leaves curling, drying, browning, and dropping. Cold weather symptoms are leaves browning and dropping. Sometimes, a quick cold spell causes leaves to drop before they can turn brown.

Mulberry trees do best when they’re grown in USDA hardiness zones 4-10.

However, the exact zone depends on the variety of mulberry you’re growing.

Mulberry TypeHardiness Zone
Red (Morus rubrum)5-10
Black (Morus nigra)7-10
White (Morus alba)4-8
Source

For more context, zone 4 means cold hardy down to -30ºF, while zone 10 is cold hardy down to 30ºF (little to no frost).

If you believe your mulberry tree is dropping its berries due to a hot or cold climate, here are some tips.

Tips for Hot Weather

  • Apply 2 inches of compost and 4-12 inches of mulch. These materials greatly improve the water retention of the soil and regulate its temperature. Since mulberries are primarily cooled by transporting moisture from their roots to their leaves, these two practices are highly recommended.
  • Provide partial shade, especially from the hot, afternoon sun. Mulberry trees evolved as a midstory species in forests, so they’re used to taller canopies giving them some shade. Ideally, use shade sails or other trees such as pines or oaks.

Tips for Cold Weather

  • Cover the tree’s canopy with a sheet to insulate it from wind chill. Tarps are also great at blocking wind chill and ice buildup.
  • Provide 1-2 feet of mulch. The more mulch, the more insulation the roots and the base of the tree will have.
  • Plant the tree in a south-oriented direction for maximum sunlight and warmth (if you’re in the southern hemisphere, this is north). Additionally, plant along a south-facing wall to reflect even more sunlight and heat onto the plant. This also keeps the tree a bit warmer into the night.

4. Lack of Pollination

Mulberry trees that don’t have sufficient pollination often drop their unfertilized flowers and fruits. Generally, flowers need to be pollinated (fertilized) to turn into fruit. While self-pollinating mulberry trees can fruit, they do best if they’re cross-pollinated.

Do You Need 2 Mulberry Trees to Get Fruit?

Mulberry trees are self-fertile and require no pollinator, however a pollination partner will increase the size and quality of the harvest. 

Raintree Nursery

So, while you can grow 1 mulberry tree by itself, it often does better with another tree planted near it. Generally, this is within 50 feet as it allows the pollinators to successfully reach both trees.

If you have multiple mulberry trees, ensure you’re pollinating trees of the same variety to maintain the same variety of fruit (unless you’d like hybrid fruits).

Tips to Improve Mulberry Tree Pollination

  • Keep another mulberry tree nearby. Ideally, within 25 feet, and no more than 50 feet. Any more than 50 feet and pollinators have a reduced likelihood of visiting both mulberry trees.
  • Plant companion plants (especially those that flower) within 50 feet of your mulberry tree. They’ll attract more pollinators including butterflies, bees, and hummingbirds.
  • Manually brush your mulberry tree’s flowers to spread pollen and induce fertilization. Use a clean q-tip, paintbrush, or toothbrush. This is especially helpful for indoor and potted mulberry trees as they’ll likely have limited access to pollinators.
  • Start beekeeping.

5. Pests and Diseases

Spider Mites and Thrips

A spider mite (left) and a thrip.

You can tell if your mulberry has spider mites if you see small dots running around on the tree’s leaves. Spider mite colors range from red, brown, yellow, and green. Common symptoms of spider mites on mulberries are leaves yellowing and dropping. Fruit dropping is also common as the mites weaken the tree (source).

On the other hand, thrips are winged insects that feed on the sap of the plant’s leaves. You can usually see small black dots (their waste) on the leaves. While thrips can’t kill a mulberry tree, they can stunt it and make it drop its fruit and leaves (source).

Mites and thrips also transmit a few mulberry viruses (likely Tospovirus) which cause unripe fruits to drop.

  • Mulberry Mosaic 
  • Mulberry Vein Banding Associated
  • Mulberry Ringspot
Prevention and Treatment

The best way to avoid the above conditions is to properly manage mite and thrip populations.

Like aphids, mites can be sprayed with water or neem oil (this worked to remove aphids from my Kaffir lime tree).

To prevent both mites and thrips, encourage their natural predators:

  • Green lacewing
  • Beneficial wasps
  • Ladybugs

To attract these beneficial insects (and make your job easier), avoid dust, pesticides, and plant diverse companion plants. If your mulberry’s leaves get dusty, give their leaves a quick rinse.

Popcorn Disease

Image source: AgBiome

Popcorn disease (Ciboria carunculoides) is a fungus that causes mulberry fruits to swell and remain unripe and green, appearing similar to popcorn kernels. While this disease is only found in southern states in the US, it’s still a problem, especially for commercial growers.

Luckily, the disease is only limited to the fruits (not infecting the tree itself), so proper management and treatment such as sprays (more on sprays below) should limit it to certain fruits or eliminate it. Some seasons are also better than others.

Root Rot

Root rot, also called Phytophthora Root & Crown Rot, is a root fungus that causes leaves, blossoms, and fruit to droop, yellow, brown, and drop.

This disease typically occurs in areas with poor drainage. To prevent and treat root rot, promote well-draining soils and transplant young trees with fresh soil if necessary. Raised beds are also helpful in improving soil drainage.

There is no chemical control available for crown and root rot in the home garden. The most important control strategy is careful water management.

Clemson University Cooperative Extension Service

My potted Kaffir lime tree had root rot recently, which I was able to tell based on the sopping wet soil and swampy smell. Fortunately, after repotting the tree with fresh potting soil and waiting a few days, the tree made a full recovery!

A Note on Pesticides and Fungicides

My parents recently had an issue with caterpillars eating their basil plants, and they were about fed up. Fortunately, instead of giving into chemical sprays, they found an organic spray at their local nursery that’s made from fermented rum. The day after spraying, they’d find dead caterpillars on the soil.

If you’d like to find out more about this organic spray, you can find it on Amazon.

So, what’s my point here?

Even though chemical sprays and fertilizers may be an easy way out, like all easy and convenient things, there are usually long-term costs. Before using conventional sprays, weigh the pros and cons and consider trying organic or permaculture-based treatments first.

To give you a head start, Stefan Sobkowiak – The Permaculture Orchard has a great video on a safe, homemade, and most importantly—effective fungicide (hint: the secret ingredient is whey).

Also, check out how Mark Shepard uses a method called STUN (Sheer-Total-Utter-Neglect) to help his berry plants, fruit trees, and nut trees THRIVE.

Is Your Fruit Tree Beyond Saving?

You can generally tell if a fruit tree is still alive by either pruning or lightly scratching off some bark from a small branch. If there’s any green inside, the plant is still alive.

If it’s not alive, revisit what may have happened (was the wrong climate, watering, nutrients, etc?) and adjust as needed for your other affected plants.

If it’s time to replace your fruit tree, or add more to your orchard, the best places to get them are your local nursery, or an online nursery. They’ll have a good selection and offer varieties that grow well in your area.

For example, I get my fruit trees from the online nursery Fast Growing Trees, and all of them have been delivered quick, neat, and healthy.

After repotting, and providing them with plenty of water and compost, they quickly recovered from the minor transplant shock and started growing nicely!

My Fuji apple tree delivered by Fast Growing Trees nursery

Related Posts

When Do Mulberry Trees Stop Dropping Berries? 4 Ways to Prevent Premature Mulberry Fruit Droppings

Bytony

Mulberry trees typically stop dropping berries around the end of September or early October. This is due to two factors: first, the yield from a mulberry tree’s fruit decreases as it gets closer to harvest time. Second, weather conditions start to become harsher. As a result, most farmers will pick their crops by this point to avoid loss. However, there can be variations based on location and climate. Once the berry season is over, the Mulberry trees will begin to reproduce by producing new woody stems and falling leaves. If you’re still interested in harvesting mulberries seasonally, it may be best to wait until later in the summer when conditions are more favorable.

Mulberry Average Lifespan

Even though mulberry trees can grow in a wide range of conditions, their lifespan is still affected by how well they are cared for over a long period. The white mulberry (Morus alba) and the red mulberry (Morus rubra) are two types of mulberry trees that are related to each other (Morus rubra). People have seen white mulberry trees live longer than 100 years, but red mulberry trees rarely live longer than 75 years. Most mulberry trees grown in yards only live for 25 to 50 years. Mulberry trees don’t live as long as they should because of bad pruning, not enough water, insects, and diseases.

Factors that Cause Premature Droppings of Mulberry Fruit

  •  Overbearing Trees: mulberry trees that are overbearing, or have too many branches, can produce less fruit and drop their berries prematurely. 
  • Weather Conditions: harsh weather conditions, such as a heat wave or cold snap, can damage the tree’s fruit and cause it to drop the fruits.
  • Insects and Diseases: insects, like aphids and scale worms, attack mulberry trees in their early stages of growth, while the disease is also a primary culprit in causing premature droppings.
  • Poor Pruning: improperly trimmed or dead branches can also decay, break off, and drop mulberry fruit prematurely.
  • Inadequate Pollination: when bumblebees, essential in pollinating, visit the flowers, the blooms will produce mulberry fruit. However, if there is not enough natural bee activity to do this, the Mulberry trees may drop their fruit prematurely.

Prune Properly

Lastly, premature fruit drop is frequently caused by overbearing, which is most prevalent in young trees because these trees have less stored nutrition than mature trees. If the tree has to choose between saving itself and fruiting, sending nutrients to produce berries, or surviving on its own, the tree will, of course, choose to survive on its own. When trees have an excessive amount of fruit on their branches, the fruit’s weight can cause it to fall off prematurely.

  • Before the tree drops the young fruit, it is essential to thin it out using pruning shears.
  • Employing a small pruner, leave a space of 4 to 6 inches (10 to 15 cm) between the fruit clusters.
  • You can also remove blossoms with your fingers before the petals fall off.

Combat Heat Wave and Cold Snap

Heat waves and cold snaps can be tough on your mulberry tree: not only do they cause leaves to drop, but they also reduce the amount of fruit that is produced. Here are some tips to help keep your tree healthy during these difficult times:

  • Water your tree regularly – make sure it has enough water so that the soil retains its moisture and does not become dry or cracked. This will help protect roots from dehydration and fungus growth, which may occur in hot weather conditions. Make sure the water covers the root zone as deep as possible for best results.
  • Avoid overwatering – overwatering can lead to foliage wilting due to high levels of sodium salts being released into the soil; this stressed plant then invites pests and diseases such as black spots into its environment (look out for aphids). Likewise, excessive irrigation during a cold snap can result in frozen branches or even snapped trees! Aim for optimal watering by consulting local sources or using a rain gauge/sensor near clusters of trees if you’re unsure how much water your plants need overall.

Increase Pollination

Increased Pollination around your mulberry tree can be achieved through companion planting, which also reduces the likelihood that insufficient Pollination will lead to an early loss of fruit.

Avoid Using Pest Controls

When the flowers bloom, you should also avoid using any pest control sprays that could potentially harm the pollinators. In severe cases of infestation, a pesticide or fungicide may be used to fight off disease-causing organisms and unwanted insects. Bear in mind that pesticides during the blossoming stage can hasten the dropping of fruit before it is fully ripe because they kill bees and other helpful insects.

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Mulberry or mulberry tree, abstract of a lesson on native nature in the senior group

Abstract of a lesson on familiarizing preschoolers with native nature in the senior group, topic “Mulberry or mulberry tree”

Author of the lesson: Svetlana Alekseevna Davydova, educator-methodologist of the highest qualification category .

Program content:

To introduce children to the plant, its features, benefits for nature and man.
Vocabulary: mulberry, mulberry, abundant, silkworm.
Develop curiosity, interest and respect for nature.

Equipment:

Mulberry and silkworm pictures; fruits of white and black mulberry, toothpicks for pricking berries during tasting, napkins; samples of silk fabric; portrait of Peter 10005

Silkworm

Lesson progress:

One can say about this tree: "Everything in it is necessary for people." (Show). It is called - here, or mulberry tree. But in our area, another name for this tree is more often used. Surely you are familiar with it. Who can name? (Answers of children). Mulberry.

These trees grow very fast. Even small four-year-old trees produce fruit. A tree lives for a very long time.

The mulberry blossoms late, but its fruits are eaten first. And this is true, there is no such woody plant whose fruits would ripen earlier than those of mulberries. Unless early cherries can compete with mulberries.

Worms feed on mulberry leaves. (Show picture). Yes, not simple worms, but able to pull a thin shiny thread from their abdomen. From this thread, people make silk - a beautiful expensive fabric. (Showing samples of silk and products from it). These worms are called silkworms. And from the word silk, the mulberry tree got its second name - mulberry.

In ancient times Alexei Mikhailovich reigned in Russia. This king adored all kinds of overseas and southern plants. On his orders, seedlings of various plants were brought from distant warm countries, gardeners came to grow these plants in Russia. Many times they tried to grow mulberries. The king really wanted to have his own silk. But all the efforts of the gardeners did not lead to anything - the mulberry trees died.
But the son of Tsar Alexei Mikhailovich, whose name was Peter the Great, (portrait display) continued the work of his father. But more intelligently. Since the trees freeze, in order to protect them from the cold, he ordered them to be planted in the very south of the country, where it is warmest. And in order to protect from people, he issued a decree according to which the death penalty awaited the one who would dare to raise an ax on these trees. And things went. They say that old mulberry trees, planted under Tsar Peter 1 three hundred years ago, are still growing.

In our area (in the Crimea), white and black mulberries are grown. The taste of white fruits is sweet, black - with sourness. The tree bears fruit very abundantly. How do you understand the word "abundant"? (Answers of children). Abundant means a lot, generously. I suggest you taste the mulberry. Someone will prefer white, while someone will like black more.

Tasting of white and black mulberries

After the tasting, children are invited to express their opinion about the taste of the mulberries they like.

There is not a single part of the mulberry tree that could not serve a person.
Fruits - tasty and healing berries have long been eaten by humans. Berries were collected, dried, stored for future use, ground into flour. Compotes, jams, jelly were made from fresh berries. They also made dyes from berries. At the end of the lesson, you will try to do it yourself.

Mulberry leaves, as we have already said, are fed to silkworms, which help people to produce silk fabric.

Their wood is mulberry, yellow and shiny. They make furniture, musical instruments, caskets, dishes, paper.

Mulberry trees are also planted on the sands, slopes of ravines and banks of reservoirs in Crimea. The roots of trees fix and protect the soil from erosion. Like all trees, it helps to purify the air and pleases the human eye.

The healing effect of berries, flowers, leaves, bark and roots of mulberry on the human body has been noticed since ancient times. Different parts of this plant were used as medicines for various diseases. And the mulberry berry was called "a small sweet first-aid kit."

So about a mulberry tree or a mulberry tree, one can say: "Everything in a tree - its wood, its juices, roots, its clothes, fruits, even its breath - everything is necessary for people."

Questions:

1. Give both names of the plant that we met today.
2. Have we always grown mulberries? How did it appear in our area?
3. Why can one say about this tree: “Everything in it is necessary for people”? What does mulberry give people?
4. What are the fruits of mulberries? When do they appear? In what quantity?
5. Why is a mulberry called a "little sweet first aid kit"?

Children's experimental activities

Children are invited to squeeze the juice from black mulberries and dye pieces of fabric with it, try to write something or draw something with a whole berry on a piece of paper.

Download the summary of the lesson “Mulberry or Mulberry Tree”

In 1930, the film The Rogue Song about the kidnapping of a girl in the Caucasus mountains was released in the US. Actors Stan Laurel, Lawrence Tibbett and Oliver Hardy played local crooks in this film. Surprisingly, these actors are very similar to the heroes ...

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Why fruit trees shed buds and fruits

Gardeners who specialize in growing fruit trees know that they often shed a small amount of ovaries after flowering. It is also inherent in them to get rid of the ripened crop. But sometimes leaves and unripe fruits fall off. Fans who plant fruit and stone fruit trees on their plot are perplexed why this situation has occurred.

Shedding of ovaries and fruits in pears. The illustration for the article is used under the standard license ©ofazende.ru
840

Contents

There are not so many reasons for the trunk to actively get rid of a newly grown ovary or unripe fruits.

The main and most common cause is lack of moisture. In drought conditions, the tree begins to shed weak ovaries and fruits in order to provide moisture to other, already formed apples or pears. There are also times when trees shed their leaves during dry weather.

When the ovary is damaged, this loss is made up for by the larger size of the rest of the crop. But the leaves are directly related to the ripening of fruits: for the ripening of 1 apple, 30-50 leaves are needed. Therefore, the gardener risks losing the result of the harvest from this tree.

To prevent this from happening, fruit trees should be watered during the drought period in order to preserve the fruits and give them time to ripen.

Water in the evening, after sunset. Use only warm water, otherwise the leaves may fall off even faster.

Fruit trees are watered at the rate of 15 buckets per 1 trunk 2 times per season: 15 days after flowering and 15-20 days before harvest.

For stone fruits, the scheme is different: 7-10 buckets every month under the base of the trunk.

There are other contributing factors to the problem: disease, insects, or lack of nutrients.

Why apple and pear trees can fall off

There are several reasons why ovaries and fruits on apple and pear trees fall off:

  1. Pests, usually codling moths. Caterpillars gnaw their way to the middle and eat its filling. The fruits then dry and fall from the branch.
  2. Fruit rot.
  3. Lack of substances that should nourish the fruit.

To avoid everything, you need to clean the stem from the bark 2 times a year: in spring and autumn. So it will be possible to destroy the pests that wintered there.

Then make a “trap belt” for the trunk so that new insects cannot get there.

With a frequency of 4-5 years, you can fertilize the trunk with 5 liters of rotted manure. Such fertilizer provides a nutrient medium.

Fruit shedding of cherries and cherries. The illustration for the article is used under the standard license ©ofazende.ru

The reasons why the fruits of sweet cherries and cherries may fall off

The reasons why they shed their leaves and unripe crops are similar.

They can be affected by insect pests: cherry weevil and cherry fly, and diseases - fruit rot and coccomycosis. The fly larva eats the pulp of the cherry, the weevil feeds on the leaves, and lays larvae in the fruit that infect the core.

Sometimes the cause is a lack of nutrients.

Growers should feed these plants after they bloom. 10 days after flowering, you need to spray the crown with a solution of urea: for 10 liters of water, 1 tbsp. After 2 weeks, the procedure is repeated.

Factors that cause dropping of fruits of plums and cherry plums

Often these trees are affected by harmful individuals: pachypod, oriental codling moth or yellow plum duster. The duster caterpillar feeds on the bone, and the codling moth caterpillar makes cavities in the shoots, after which the stems dry out. The tolstopodka loves the bone; after its damage, the ovaries fall off.

These stone fruit trees are also affected by diseases: polystigmosis or red spot and moniliosis, i.e. fruit rot.

If there is not enough nutrition for plum and cherry plum, then this may be another factor.

To keep these stone fruits from starving, you need to feed them in 3 stages.

Before the trees should bloom: 2 tbsp.


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